Businesses want to be successful and grow, right? It seems like a no-brainer.
But the two don’t always go hand-in-hand.
The initial success of a business can often be its downfall, believe it or not. If the owner and management see an opportunity to expand and they move too quickly to do so they can find themselves over-extended and unable to replicate the formula that made them successful in the first place.
For example, a restaurant may have trouble seating all the diners who want to take advantage of their great food and service. The owner, seeing dollars lost from all the customers it has to turn away, decides another restaurant in another location is the answer.
Profits will double, right?
But starting that new restaurant takes money. That investment may leave them cash poor and unable to offer the same quality of food at the same prices as the original. Management and payroll has just doubled, and with most small businesses the owners are the management, so more time is needed, threatening the personal touch that made their business special.
They also may have based their assumptions on how successful their growth would be on what worked the first time, rather than a well-thought-out business plan.
Yes, growth is success. But being ready to grow is vital. Knowing what made you successful and staying committed to that formula is the surest way of ensuring a solid growth plan.
Still, entrepreneurial spirit, willingness to take risks and good instincts have built many small businesses into big corporations.
In this edition of Business World we look at the how, why, when and whether businesses should grow.
Yes, sometimes they shouldn’t.
Our package of stories includes EZ’s Burger Deluxe, that highly recognizable restaurant that greets people driving into Wenatchee from the north. It is popular, often voted Wenatchee’s best fast-food restaurant in polls, but the owner has no visions of growing EZ’s into the next McDonald’s.
He’s at an age, he says, where he’s content with what he has.
Another example is LocalTel, a company that has adapted, grown and is still growing. The visionary owners of that company have been uncanny at staying on pace, or even ahead of technological advances that might have doomed similar businesses. LocalTel actually started as a computer-sales store and now seems to do everything but that.
Business experts also weigh in with their advice on how best to grow, or not grow, a business.
Since we want all our local businesses to be successful, the way they are and what they might become, we hope the examples and advice are useful when it comes time to make those big decisions.